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Improving Health of American Indians and Native Alaskans


A new special issue of The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse features a comprehensive library of 24 evidence-based research articles aimed at improving health status by building a comprehensive picture of alcohol and drug dependency among American Indian and Native Alaskan communities.

NEW YORK – Monday, 01 October 2012 – Informa Healthcare and Editor-in-Chief Dr. Bryon Adinoff are pleased to announce the publication of the September 2012 issue of The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse (Volume 38, Issue #4), a special edition featuring rigorous empirical reports and reviews based on the research presented at the conference “Building Bridges: Advancing American Indian/Alaska Native Substance Abuse Research: A State of the Science and Grant Development Workshop.”

This special edition contains 24 research papers covering many of the most important and urgent issues surrounding alcohol and substance use among American Indian and Alaska Native communities including how it affects high risk groups such as adolescents and pregnant women. The papers also cover the role of historic trauma as well as traditional and modern methods of healing. The collection of papers – like the conference before them – is designed to address the vital issues of improving the health status of American tribes by building a comprehensive picture of the problems and a holistic approach to the solutions.

“Until now, there has been very little research focused on ways to improve the health status of American Indians and Alaska Natives, despite the fact that they suffer disproportionately high rates of substance abuse and health conditions related to substance abuse,” explains Dr Kathleen Etz from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Addressing drug and alcohol abuse in this population is key to building a comprehensive approach to improving health status.”

This 2010 workshop brought together experts and stakeholders from across academic institutions, tribal communities and government to discuss research findings and research opportunities in American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) substance abuse research, which has led to numerous advances in the field now recorded in this remarkable special issue.

“This special edition appears to be the first compilation of reports of evidence-based research on alcohol and drug abuse research among American Indian/Alaska Natives,” says Dr Judith A. Arroyo from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “For a long time, the literature on AI/AN substance use consisted predominantly of reports that, while informing the field about important issues, failed to include empirical data-based results.”

“This collection of research articles fills that significant gap with work that maintains respect for the communities that participated, while contributing to the rigorous empirical literature in these areas of critically pressing health concerns,” continues Arroyo. “This special edition is the result of close collaboration between the two Institutes, NIAAA and NIDA, providing an excellent example of how cross Institute cooperation can yield extraordinary results.”

Dr Etz explains the importance of historical perpective: “The special issue contributes significantly by showcasing the state of this science, while presenting perspectives that acknowledge traumatic events and losses among American Indians and Alaska Natives that may contribute to drug and alcohol disorders.”

“At the same time, the articles presented here honor and recognize the rich history and culture of American Indians and Native Alaskans and this may provide keys to prevention, healing and recovery,” adds Etz.

Three of the articles contained in this Special Issue of The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse (Volume 38, Issue #4) are available via open access until October 15th and can be viewed by visiting: http://informahealthcare.com/page/readingroom , listed under the category “Addiction Research” and underneath the journal title “The American Journal of Drug & Alcohol Abuse.



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